November 7, 2012
Mafia-linked prosecutor raises eyebrows
By QMI Agency
MONTREAL - The Quebec prosecutors' office has raised eyebrows by hiring a lawyer who has defended members of the Mafia and is married to a lawyer who represented Mob boss Vito Rizzuto.
Marie-Helene Giroux works on a special anti-corruption unit that prosecutes municipal corruption cases.
Her husband, Clement Monterosso, twice defended Rizzuto before the Supreme Court of Canada, in 2004 and 2006, during the don's failed bid to block his deportation to the United States to face trial for a triple murder.
While Quebec Justice Minister Bertrand St-Arnaud refused to comment on Giroux's hiring, former Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe says the appointment raises questions.
"I'm not saying Mr. Monterosso and Mrs. Giroux are dishonest," Duceppe told QMI Agency. "Their relationship, however, raises doubts. It seems to me that it's a risk."
He said several people in the legal community have told him about their concerns.
"In our justice system there should be no conflict of interest or even the appearance of a conflict of interest. This is playing with fire."
Called to the bar in 1989, Giroux appeared 400 times before the Quebec Court of Appeal and about six times before the Supreme Court of Canada. She also has a doctorate in international law and was a university professor for 15 years.
She once defended Vincent Lacroix, mastermind of one of Canada's biggest financial scams, as well as now-deceased street-gang kingpin "Big" Chenier Dupuy.
But it's her decision to defend Rizzuto associates Moreno Gallo and Pierino Divito, as well as four bikers, that have drawn the most attention.
Crown spokesman Rene Verret told QMI that his office received "important guarantees" from Giroux to avoid "any possible conflict of interest."
It's the second suggestion of a conflict-of interest within Quebec's anti-corruption infrastructure.
Sylvain Lussier, chief counsel at the ongoing provincial corruption inquiry, resigned last month after a paving firm he represented was raided by police.